Directory of Logan, WV circa 1925

A Detailed Directory of Logan, WV
circa 1925.

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Special thanks to Jack Browning for providing a copy of this historical directory.

The content on this page is for educational purposes and is used in accordance with the Fair Use Law (Per Title 17—United States Code—Section 107).

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Development of Education

Development of Education
By J. A. Vickers

The history of Logan County dates back to the French and Indian War. The settlers were all uneducated me setting out into a strange country as pioneers, courage and a will to win being their only tools. Among these early settlers was a man by the name of Boling Baker, a deserter from General Braddock’s army. He was taken in Ohio by a tribe of Shawnee Indians whose chief, Cornstalk, decided to make him run the gauntlet. He was persuaded by his daughter to spare Baker’s life and put him in their tribe. Baker later married this daughter whose name was Aracoma, who became princess of the race. In 1765, they settled on what is now known as the Midelburg Island and the City of Aracoma was named in honor of the princess.

J. A. VickersIn 1799 William Dingess starter the first settlement in Logan. He built his home near the present site of the courthouse, this proved to be very desirable spot and soon more people settled here and in 1824 Logan County was created and received its name from a red foeman, Logan, the Mingo Chief.

The first store in Logan County was opened by Anthony Lawson in 1821. He brought his merchandise from Baltimore over the national road to Wheeling, down the Ohio River in flatboats, and up the Guyandotte. River in canoes.

The Guyandotte River received its name from Henry Guyan, a Frenchman, who had an Indian trading post at the mouth of the river before the county was settled by white men.

The county seat was then known as “The Islands.” In 1827 the name became Lawnsville; in 1852 the name was change to Aracoma, and finally, in 1907 it was changed to Logan because there had been a post office there for some time which was called Logan Court House.

The fist school house in the county was erected by Peter Dingess upon the ruins of an Indian lodge on the island. Later Lewis B. Lawson erected a log house near the mouth of Dingess Run for a school building. George Bryant taught the first school in this building, and was assisted by a Methodist circuit rider’s wife, whose name was Mrs. Graves, from Kentucky. In these schools there were no uniform rulings. Each teacher followed his own plan; each pupil studied what he pleased. One was considered sufficiently educated when he had finished McGuffey’s Reader and Ray’s Arithmetic.

The first high school in Logan was organized August 28, 1911, in what is now known as the Central Grade Building. F. O. Warner was appointed principal. There were sixteen pupils enrolled. Ths school was classified as a third-rate high school and it was not until 1914 that the school became a first-class high school.

During the years 1914-1915, the Junior High School building was constructed and was first occupied by the Logan High School. By 1921 the enrollment had increased to the point where it was necessary to have another building and the present Senior High School was built. In 1930 the school became a member of the Secondary Schools and Colleges.

Thus was the beginning of one of the wealthiest and most progressive sections of West Virginia as we see it today.

1890 Rum Junction School, Rum Creek, WV1952 Logan County High Schools*This article was originally published in the 1952 Centennial Program Booklet published by the City of Logan, WV.

The content on this page is for educational purposes and is used in accordance with the Fair Use Law (Per Title 17—United States Code—Section 107).

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My Memories of Logan

My memories of Logan – More Than Feudin’ and Fightin’

By Elizabeth Thurmond Witskhey

This article was originally published in the Spring 2000 edition of the Goldenseal Magazine. It is published here with their permission and our special thanks.

Elizabeth Thurmond, circa 1914

Young Elizabeth Thurmond posed with a favorite book for this studio portrait, circa 1914. The book is The Tale of Paddy Muskrat by Arthur Scott Bailey.

Back when I was a child, there was more going on in Logan than feudin’ and fightin’ and mine wars. Those were the events that made the newspapers, but the outside world had no idea of how wonderful it was to live in Logan, how much fun we had, or how many exciting cultural and entertainment events rode the rails into our little town.

In 1914, Logan began bursting its seams, which up until then had consisted of a sizable hill on one side and a lazy little fish-filled stream on the other. As the area coal business began to prosper and expand, satellite industries kept up the rigorous pace and the population of Logan exploded.

As always with a population explosion, the need for school facilities increased. It wasn’t long until a new junior/senior high school was built beside the ancient grade school. Mr. F.O. Woerner –know to us as “Perfesser” – reigned with an iron ruler and no one even thought of misbehaving when he was nearby. He not only kept us in line, he scared us to death – every minute of the school day. Even so, he was loved and respected as long as he lived.

Summertime in Logan meant long lazy days swimming and swinging from wild grapevines over the Guyandotte River (locally known as the Guyan River). On the last swing out, we’d let go with that deliciously scary feeling of falling out of control, until we were jolted back to our senses with the smack of the water against sunburned bodies. This activity resulted in sore muscles and skin that smarted hours afterward.

A few years later, we deserted that swimming hole for another in the nearby town of McConnell. It was just as much fun, but dangerously deep! And although we felt more daring, we were never quite as comfortable as we had been back at our old swimming hole in Logan.

Elizabeth at the Stollings Swimming Pool

Elizabeth, fourth from the left in the back row, cooled off with some friends at the new Stollings swimming pool during the late 1920s.

I remember long hay rides. In those days, we frequently persuaded Mr. J.J. Hinchman to fill the back of his huge truck with straw. About 20 kids piled in and we’d be off to some mountain spot to roast hot dogs, toast marshmallows, gobble potato salad, and gulp lemonade by moonlight. There was a lot of singin’ and not a little courtin’ going on during these evenings. Try to imagine a mad and frustrated chaperone, or a young girl visibly embarrassed because her mother had come along. All the way home we harmonized on “Down By the Old Mill Stream,” “School Days,” “I’m Forever Blowin’ Bubbles” and “Row, Row, Row Your Boat.”

Elizabeth and friends at Ward Rock

The long climb to Ward Rock was worth the effort for Elizabeth, left, and her friends.

Ward Rock was an unforgettable landmark high on the hill above the high school. It was flat as a griddle and large enough for 15 or 20 kids. I never knew who originated the “let’s hike to Ward Rock” idea, but several times each year word spread that “that Saturday morning” we would make the trek. Alarms were set for 4:30 a.m., and we went to sleep dreaming of the fun-filled day that lay ahead. About 5:00 a.m. in the morning, starting with those who lived in the east end of town, one by one they came down Stratton Street, winding around Dead Man’s Curve, stopping at every gate whistling and yelling “Get up or we’re goanna leave ya!”

By the time we reached the foot of the hill, there was quite a group. Somehow, Ione Hall, the school music teacher, was always the one who got the job of chaperoning. Maybe it was because she was the youngest on the staff. It was dark as pitch that time of the day and cold enough to freeze a bird’s wing, so we all wore heavy coats caps and boots. We could hardly make the climb for all our heaving clothing but when we finally reached the summit, it felt like we were on top of the world! The sunrise seen half a century later by astronauts circling the globe was never more glorious than that brilliant diamond ball rising slowly from the hills.

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Logan Civic Little League

Logan Civic Little League Baseball

The Logan Civic Little League Association was founded by Forrest M. “Nig” Pierce, Lester “Bus” Perry and Earl Kirker.*

1965 Logan Civic Little League Booklet

1965 Logan Civic Little League Booklet courtesy of Herb Harvey.

1965 Logan Civic Little League Booklet

*Credit/Source: Dodie (Smith) Browning.

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Coal Miners

Coal Miners – The Heroes of Appalachia

The job of a underground coal miner has always been hard and dangerous. It was especially so during the early years of coal mining.  Every working day coal miners risked their lives to provide for their families.  That’s why they’re heroes.

Those of us that grew up in Appalachia during the 1940s, 50s and 60s who were the sons and daughters of coal miners will always remember how afraid we were for our fathers.

Monument to Coal Miners at Chief Logan State Park

Monument to Coal Miners at Chief Logan State Park
Donated by the United Mine Workers of America Logan County Commission, State of West Virginia
October 29, 1999

On Friday December 6, 1907 an explosion at the Number 8 mine at Monongah, WV killed over 360 coal miners. That’s why December 6th was selected as National Miners Day.

The 2nd worse WV mine disaster was on April 29, 1914 at Eccles, WV where 183 were killed.

“The deadliest year in U.S. coal mining history was 1907, when an estimated 3,242 deaths occurred. While annual coal mining deaths numbered more than 1,000 a year in the early part of the 20th century, they decreased to an average of about 451 annual fatalities in the 1950s, and to 141 in the 1970s. From 2006-2010, the yearly average number of fatalities in coal mining decreased to 35.”[1]

Getting killed on the job wasn’t the only occupational hazard of coal miners.  If they managed to survive a couple decades or so working underground, many had their lives cut short by black lung and other lung diseases related to their occupation.  This is the price they paid in order to provide for their families.

“Coal: An Appalachian Treasure” by Clara Maynard. – A video essay by a Marshall University student about coal mining and her Dehue, coal-miner grandfather.

Photo Gallery

You can help preserve a bit of our Logan County history and memories by sharing your vintage photos with us. To share a photo, please email it to the admin at Please note that you must own the photo you are submitting or ensure that no one has a copyright claim on it. If a photo owned by you appears on this website and you do not want it here, please notify the admin for its immediate removal.

*Header image courtesy of the Library of Congress.
[1] Source: United States Department of Labor, Mine Safety and Health Administration

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1948 Logan High School

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1948 Logan High School Yearbook photos, Logan, WV. Continue reading

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1947 Phone Book

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1947 Phone Book Images courtesy of Ralph H. Mcneely. Logan-Man 1947 Phone Book Images You may also enjoy the 1969 Phone Book.

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Early Life In Logan County

Early Life In Logan County Described by K. F. Deskins

Pioneer Citizen Has Clear Recollection of Sixty Years Ago When There Were But Eight to Ten Houses Here

The Logan Banner, Nov. 12, 1937

By Stan Tobin

Sixty years ago, which is comparatively a short time in the ordinary span of things canoes and flatboats floated up and down the Guyan River, deer, bear and wild hogs roamed the hills in abundance and the few people that lived in the valley existed by what nature had to offer.

Sixty years ago not more than eight or ten houses were in the city of Logan, one homestead was at Mt. Gay, one at Midelburg Addition, and one at Stollings.

K.F. Deskins one of the foremost pioneers in the county, from whose father Deskins Addition received its name, has lived here all his life and at the age of 70, has a clear recollection of the early days.

He tells of those pioneer years as follows: “We farmed, raised cattle, kept a few head of sheep and owned 100 head of wild hogs. We also raised Geese, made our own feather beds and pillows, and sold surplus feathers to our little country store. During the winter we would run out occasionally into the mountains and kill a wild hog, or let a neighbor kill one for half the carcass. We raised cane too, and made from 90 to 100 gallons of molasses for cooking and table use. The cane was ground in an old home made mill and boiled down in three big kettles and placed in a furnace made in the ground.”

We raised corn and shelled it and took it to a water mill to Pecks Mill or Tone Lawson’s each seven miles away. It took a whole day to make the trip, get our grist and return. This supply would last about two weeks.

Merchandise all came by flatboat, pushed up the river from Guyandotte. It took about two weeks to make this trip, and there was no other way of transportation. Later on we hauled with teams and wagons from Charleston and Brownstown.

We wore what was called pee jackets, made out of gray cloth, known as Kentucky Jeans, which was tied in front in a hard knot. Mother knit our socks and suspenders. We wore leather shoes with thick soles and had laces made of ground-hog skins. Sometimes we wore moccasins made of one-piece leather. The women wore linsey dresses until three-cent calico was introduced and became very popular as a dress material. All women wore long dresses, and some wore hoops. They rode horseback on two-horn saddles, or rode behind their husbands.

Sixty years ago Mingo was embraced in Logan County. The town of Logan had but few houses. There was one house at what is now Mt. Gay. Aunt Jane Avis lived near where the power house now stands, and we could see her house from our log home. There was one house in what is now Midelburg — the home of Ed Robertson. There was one home in Aracoma where John Justice lived and had a grocery store. At Stollings, there was one house, that of James Lawson. There was a tanyard back of town near Hick White’s home. All those named are dead now.

There was not a single bridge in the county. Foot logs were used to cross the streams. A tree that would span a creek would be chopped down. It would be scored and hewn on one side and placed in a suitable position.

We owned 600 acres of the finest farm, timber and coal land in Logan County sixty years ago. Two of the boys still own quite a bit of the same property today in Deskins Addition. Our grandparents owned many slaves and lost heavily on them when they were freed.

Cookstoves, carpets, rugs, phonographs, iron bedsteads, electric light, radios, automobiles and flying machines were not dreamed of by us then.

We have seen deer come down the hill opposite our house and jump into Island Creek. We could hear foxes barking, owls hooting and wild turkeys gobbling most any morning as there were all kinds of game in the county sixty years ago.

“We could see and hear wild geese pass every fall. Wild ducks were plentiful and it was great sport to hunt and shoot them in the fall of the year. We children and mother dug wild ginseng and yellow root for a living, as this was quite a big business during the fall months.

Our forefathers of the Deskins line said our name originated from a boy child that was found on a doorstep wrapped in deerskin back in Indian times and they named him deer-skin.”

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Mud Fork

Photos of the Mud Fork area of Logan County, WV

You can help preserve a bit of the history and memories of the Mud Fork area by sharing your vintage photos with us. To share a photo, please email it to the admin at Please note that you must own the photo you are submitting or ensure that no one has a copyright claim on it.

Mud Fork Photo Gallery

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McDonald Family of Logan County

The McDonald Family of Logan County, WV

The History of West Virginia, Old and New
and West Virginia Biography
Volume II Biographical, Page 550-551
The American Historical Society, Inc.,
Chicago and New York
Published 1923

MCDONALD FAMILY. Among the pioneer families in the southern part of the state perhaps no one group has shown greater unity in purpose and enterprise than the McDonalds of Logan County. As the name indicates, they are of Scotch ancestry, and they have manifested the Scotch traits of thrift and forehanded judgment in holding on to and developing lands and other interests that came to them by inheritance. Of the present generation two of the prominent members are Bruce McDonald, of Logan, and Millard McDonald, of Mallory, and their father, William Wallace McDonald, is also a prominent figure in the article that follows.

It was before the Revolutionary war that the first members of this family appeared in this region of Virginia. They settled on Tom’s Creek in Montgomery County. The ancestor of the family now under consideration was Edward McDonald, who settled and purchased a large tract on Clear Fork of Guyan in that part of Virginia now Wyoming County, West Virginia. He located there about 1787, purchased part of the Gordon and Cloyd survey on Huff’s Creek, and these lands are still in the possession of the McDonald family. Edward McDonald developed a farm and was extensively engaged in the live stock business in that pioneer epoch. All the McDonalds of the present have been hard workers.

Joseph McDonald, a son of Edward, lived to the age of eighty years. He was the father of William Wallace McDonald, who was born at the old home place in Wyoming County, April 1, 1817. In 1844 he moved to the month of Huff’s Creek, where he first purchased a farm and later acquired 14,000 acres of land, still retained by his descendants and now owned by the W. W. McDonald Land Company, which was incorporated in 1913 to handle this and other property interests. Individual members of the family have added large tracts to this original holding. A large part of these lands were under laid with valuable deposits of coal, and some of the principal coal operations in this part of state are on the McDonald property. These include the Standard Island Creek operations at Taplin, the Logan Mining Company’s operations at Earling, the Mallory Coal Company on and at the mouth of Huff’s Creek, the Logan-Elkhorn Coal Corporation, the Long-Flame Coal Company.

William Wallace McDonald died at his home place on Huff’s Creek, August 15, 1902. He had to teach himself, but was thoroughly well educated and a student and a thinker all his life. As a young man he taught a number of schools in Wyoming County. His brother Isaac had inherited the old homestead, and while William Wallace had some financial assistance from his father, he was, generally speaking, the architect of his own destiny. He went in for high grade live stock, and at one time owned a fine herd of Durham cattle. He was a liberal supporter of the Methodist Church, and his home was always open to the Methodist ministers. He was a democrat, was in sympathy with the South at the time of the Civil war, and at one time was taken prisoner by Northern troops, but soon released.

The first wife of William Wallace McDonald was Minerva Dingess, a sister of John and Guy Dingess. Guy Dingess lived below Logan in Guyan Valley. By the first marriage there were two children. Charles L, died at the old home in 1888, at the age of forty-one. His sister, Mary A., lives with her son, Warren Perry, and is the widow of Oliver Perry, who died in 1895.

The second wife of William Wallace McDonald was Parthena Scaggs. She was born in Montgomery County, and died at the old home in 1873. She was the mother of the following children: Millard, who is mentioned in later paragraphs; Bruce; Bilton, who is unmarried, lives at Logan and is president of the W. W. McDonald Land Company; Wayne, born in 1864, who was a merchant and timber man and died in 1900; Ann Brook, born in 1866, died in California in 1908, and was the wife of C. M. Turley, of Boone County, now deceased; Miriam Alice, born in 1868, is the wife of John Robinson, a farmer of Cambria, Virginia; Marshall, born in 1872, died in 1901.

Bruce McDonald, the second son, was born at the mouth of Huff’s Creek, February 8, 1860. He and his brother Bilton attended the free schools of their neighborhood, and after getting all the education they could there they each taught one term of school. Then, in quest of further education, they walked overland to Athens, Mercer County, where they attended a term of school at Old Concord Church, a school taught by Captain French, and out of which has since been developed the Concord State Normal.

After the close of the term they walked home and taught another term of school at a salary of $18 a month. Following this they left home to attend school again, and this time they traveled by rafts down the Guyan River to its mouth, went by train to Hinton and thence walked to the Concord School. After the second term at Concord the brothers continued teaching for several years. In the fall of 1885 Bruce and Bilton entered the National Normal University at Lebanon, Ohio, and remained there at their studies for about one year. In 1887 Bilton was elected superintendent of schools for Logan County, but on account of ill health was unable to fill out the term and his brother Bruce took his place. Many people in this section of West Virginia recall Bruce McDonald as a capable teacher in various localities. At one time he taught in the Town of Logan. He and Martin Jones were teachers of the two-room school conducted in a frame building that stood on the present site of the splendid high school at Logan. Bruce McDonald’s first official position was as a member of the school board in the Triadelphia District.

Later, in 1904, he was elected a member of the Legislature, and served until 1908, and was a member of the committees on mines and mining and education. He was a commissioner of the County Court from 1912 to 1919, and the last six years president of the court. For six years he was associated in partnership with his brother Millard in the mercantile business at the mouth of Huff’s Creek. They dealt in a large range of commodities, including ginseng and timber, which they rafted down the river to market. On leaving Huffs Creek Bruce McDonald moved to Taplin, where he lived and continued in business for fifteen years. He brought his goods up the Guyan River on a push boat, and at the same time sent large quantities of timber down the stream by rafts.

Bruce McDonald became a resident of the City of Logan in 1912. He and the other heirs in 1913 incorporated the 14,000- acre estate of their father as the W. W. McDonald Land Company, Incorporated, of which Bilton is president, Bruce, vice president, and S. E. McDonald, a son of Millard, secretary and treasurer. Bruce McDonald is one of the organizers and is vice president of the Guyan Valley Bank, and is a member of the board of directors of the First National Bank. He is a steward and trustee of the First Methodist Episcopal Church, South, and has helped to build several churches. Fraternally he is affiliated with the Masonic Lodge and Chapter, West Virginia Consistory No. 1 of the Scottish Rite at Wheeling, and Beni-Kedem Temple of the Mystic Shrine at Charleston. He also belongs to the Elks and is a democrat. Mr. McDonald is unmarried.

Millard McDonald, the oldest son of his father’s second marriage, acquired his education in the home schools and as a young man he married Vicia Buchanan, daughter of John Buchanan. She was born near Matewan on Big Sandy. They have four living children: S. Elmer, who is secretary of the W. W. McDonald Land Company, is a director of the First National Bank of Logan and president of the Merchants and Miners Bank; Lillie May, wife of H. H. Oakley, who is associated with the Guyan Supply Company of Logan; Nora, wife of W . D. Phipps, of the Logan Mercantile Company; and Mabel, wife of Dr. C. B. Morris, a dentist of Stollings in Logan County.

Millard McDonald and wife are Methodists, and he is a member of the board of stewards in his home church and, like his father and brother, has assisted actively in church building. Millard McDonald was born in 1858. For four years he was a merchant on Huff’s Creek and for many years has continued his operations as a stock dealer.

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